A little sensitive at this time of year about the passage of time …
‘So,’ I asked the barman in Molly’s Bar where the head on the Guinness stands proud above the rim of the glass, ‘in what year did Dana win the Eurovision Song Contest.’ To which I got the answer, ‘Sorry – before I was born.’
Oh dear. The Irish papers were greeting the arrival of Carys Rose, Dana’s first grandchild. Dana – who won Eurovision in 1970 with that vacuous hymn to inclusiveness, ‘All kinds of everything remind me of you’. Dana – fixed forever in our hearts and memories at 19. Yes she was born two months after I was.
Dana also unwisely contested the Irish Presidential Election in 1997 on a ‘traditional family values’ ticket – one of her more robust opponents said that to attack Dana was like clubbing seals.
We also mark the passing of Cardinal Cahal Daley – former Archbishop of Armagh and leader of the Irish Catholic Church in difficult times. He was, I think, a real leader. A ferocious critic of the IRA, he faced the dark stuff on his own side and earned unpopularity for doing so. Leaders in all religious traditions should take note